Pictured: Vice Adm. Michael McAllister, the Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, at the ground breaking of the new Coast Guard Air Station at Navy Base Ventura, Point Mugu. July 27, 2021. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Brahm. 

by Kimberly Rivers

Female inmate dies at Todd Road Jail

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office reported that at approximately 8:48 p.m. on July 25, Jocelyn Gomez, 23 of Oxnard, was found “unresponsive” in her cell by deputies. Medical staff was sought and aid given. 

Paramedics responded to the scene, but Gomez was pronounced dead at the jail. 

The Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau is investigating the cause of death and autopsy reports from the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office are pending.

State fire FAIR Insurance must provide full coverage

A state court has upheld the authority of California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to order the state’s fire insurance plan, called FAIR Plan, to also offer comprehensive homeowners insurance. 

With increased risk of wildfire, insurance companies began declining and dropping coverage for fire in certain areas and the only fire insurance available was an exclusive, expensive policy through the state. 

“In addition, by forcing its policyholders to purchase separate insurance policies for liability and contents on top of its ‘fire-only’ policy, the FAIR Plan drives up the price for consumers, which only benefits the insurance companies that profit from this unfair and costly arrangement,” said Lara in a written statement, adding that insurance companies operating the FAIR Plan should “move forward to implement this needed coverage option as soon as possible and I have directed my staff to work quickly to make sure this comprehensive coverage is available to all Californians.”

FAIR Plan information: www.cfpnet.com

Hybrid CERT training offered

The Ventura County Fire Department is offering free, bilingual, hybrid Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. 

The program includes 12 hours of online training with in-person skills and disaster simulation. Participants will learn basic disaster response including fire safety, team organization, hazards that may impact their areas and more. Those who complete the 12-hour online session will then have a 16-hour hands-on, practical two-day course. 

Details and registration are online at www.vcfd.org/register-for-a-class.

To learn more about the Ventura County CERT program, visit www.vcfd.org/cert or contact VCFD CERT Program Manager Captain Robert Ashby via email at CERT@Ventura.org.

Simi Animal Shelter phased reopening

As of July 10 the Simi Valley Animal Shelter, operated by Ventura County Animal Services, has reopened as a holding facility for reclaiming found and dropping-off lost dogs and cats. No pet adoptions are taking place at this location at this time. The Simi Valley Animal Shelter will be open Tuesday-Sunday, 12 –5 p.m., and is located at 670 W. Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. www.vcas.us/#shelters

Director leaving Ventura County Transportation Commission

Darren Kettle.

After nearly 14 years, Darren Kettle, executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC), will be moving on to serve as chief executive officer of Metrolink. He was selected by the board of directors of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) and his first day is expected to be Sept. 7. 

VCTC will begin the process of recruiting a new executive director. 

New Coast Guard air station in Ventura

On Tuesday, July 26, the U.S. Coast Guard broke ground for a new facility at naval base Point Mugu, which will replace a rented space crews have used to launch and land helicopters. 

The new Coast Guard Air Station Ventura will cost $53 million and will include a 48,000-square-foot hangar in addition to a 12,200-square-foot administration building and berthing facility at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu. 

The hangar will be used to house four MH-65 Dolphin helicopters and 82 personnel will be stationed at the site, slated to be operational by August 2023. 

The Coast Guard’s lease at Air Station Los Angeles expired in 2016 and then it was relocated to Naval Base Ventura County with support from 11 rotating crewmembers from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, and 13 local permanent crew members. 

The station is responsible for 350 nautical miles between Dana Point and Morro Bay and includes the Channel Islands, with missions that include emergency response 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, search and rescue, law enforcement of marine and waterways conservation and protection and drug and migrant interdiction.